Egypt’s prosecution referred on Sunday five al-Azhar University students to a military court on charges of attacking a vital state institution, after the Cairo Criminal Court announced that it lacks sufficient jurisdiction to rule in the case.


Egypt cabinet to approve electoral districts on Wednesday
The Egyptian cabinet is expected to approve the new draft law aimed at redrawing the country’s electoral constituencies on Wednesday. Transitional justice and parliamentary affairs minister Ibrahim al-Heneidy indicated that the draft law creates four ‎constituencies designed for competition among party-based ‎candidates. He stressed that as soon as the voters’ data is registered the electoral districts law will be approved. The anticipated electoral law won’t instigate blanket political isolation per se, but will deny anyone convicted on “political corruption” crimes the right to run for parliamentary elections, says a member of the committee tasked with drafting the bill. The Electoral Districts Committee is still considering making changes to the final draft of the law. One option before the committee is to divide the country into 246 districts, and then distribute the 420 seats that are reserved for individual candidates among them. Alternatively, the country could be divided into 420 districts, with one seat per district allocated to individual candidates. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met on Sunday with representatives of the Independence Current, as part of a series of sessions he has been holding with various political forces over the upcoming parliamentary elections. Judge Ahmed al-Fadali, leader of the Independence Current, said before the meeting that the movement intends to propose increasing the number of individual seats in parliament from 420 to 460. [Ahram Online, DNE, 11/16/2014]

Mubarak-era figures join forces for parliamentary election
Two electoral alliances founded by Mubarak-era politicians, Ahmed Shafiq’s Egyptian Front coalition, and an alliance formed by Mubarak-era minister Kamal al-Ganzouri,  will join hands to contest the upcoming parliamentary poll. A source close to Ganzouri had said that his group, which remains unnamed, will only contest party-list seats. The Egyptian Front coalition also includes established leftist and liberal parties – like Tagammu and Ghad – as well as the lesser known Modern Egypt and Egypt My Country parties, whose spokesman is prominent journalist and ex-MP Mustafa Bakri. The Conference Party, led by Mubarak-era minister Amr Moussa, is also in the Egyptian Front coalition. [Ahram Online, DNE, 11/15/2014]

Also of Interest
June 30 fact-finding committee receives new information on Raba’a dispersal | Aswat Masriya
Fact-finding group set to blame Islamists for Egypt’s post-June 30 violence | Ahram Online
Egyptian parties refuse politician Ayman Nour at Beirut youth conference | Ahram Online


Five al-Azhar students sent to military court; HRW condemns expansion of military trials 
Egypt’s prosecution referred on Sunday five al-Azhar University students to a military court on charges of attacking a vital state institution, after the Cairo Criminal Court announced that it lacks sufficient jurisdiction to rule in the case. The defendants were arrested at the beginning of the year, and were charged with joining a “terrorist group” as well as setting fire to a room in the engineering faculty of al-Azhar University, possession of Molotov cocktails, and rioting. This came after a presidential decree was issued allowing military trials of civilians for damaging state property. The decree “risks militarizing the prosecution of protesters and other government opponents,” said Human Rights Watch, urging the president to “quickly amend his decree.” In a statement issued Monday, HRW said the law “greatly expands the jurisdiction of military courts, giving them their widest legal authority since the birth of Egypt’s modern republic in 1952.” [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, DNE, Egypt Independent, 11/16/2014]

Hunger-striking Soltan’s prison warden referred to investigation
The Cairo Criminal Court referred to investigation on Sunday the warden of the prison where hunger-striking detainee Mohamed Soltan is kept for his obstinacy in conducting a medical examination on Soltan and other detainees. The court, which had earlier ordered the medical examination, postponed the trial of Soltan and fifty others to December 1. All defendants are to remain in jail pending the trial. [Aswat Masriya, 11/15/2014]

Also of Interest
Cairo court adjourns case on dissolution of Islamist Nour Party | Ahram Online
Alaa Abdel-Fattah ‘insulting police’ appeal postponed to November 27 | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
Appeal verdict for ‘gay wedding video’ set for December 27 | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
Expelled BUE students to file grievance against administration | Ahram Online
Another man accused in Morsi ‘espionage case’ | Ahram Online
Badie not in court for retrial due to security reasons | DNE
Egyptian fishermen arrested on navy attack suspicion freed: Reports | Ahram Online, DNE
Security personnel remanded into custody over sexual assault of tourist in Hurghada | Egypt Independent
Prosecution shows irrelevant videos in Shura Council case | Mada Masr
Court sentences nineteen to life in absentia for property tax building arson | Aswat Masriya
Morsi espionage trial postponed to November 18 | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s unemployment remains high at 13.1 percent in third quarter
Egypt’s unemployment rate shrank in the third quarter of 2014 by 0.2 percent, reaching 13.1 percent. Unemployment remains above the 8.9 percent registered in the same period preceding the 2011 uprising. According to official statistics there are 3.6 million unemployed Egyptians nationwide. At least three quarters hold diplomas or university degrees and persons between 15 and 29 of age comprise 64 percent of the unemployed. [Ahram Online, 11/16/2014]

Also of Interest
Egyptian pound steady on official market, weaker on black market | Reuters
Thirty-five US companies met with Dar al-Handasah to discuss Suez Canal Project | DNE
Egypt, UAE MoU increases free zones cooperation: GAFI Chairman | DNE
High optimism among Egyptian consumers: MasterCard index | DNE
Encouraging signs for Egypt’s economy | Zawya
World Bank expects Egypt’s GDP growth to reach 5 percent in four years | Egypt Independent
Egypt sells 734.3 million euros of 1-year T-bills – central bank | Reuters
Egypt’s Orascom reports Q3 net loss of 72.6 million Egyptian pounds | Reuters
Sisi reviews new projects in Suez Canal region | SIS


Egyptian rights group divided over pro-regime support
A disagreement over support for Egypt’s new authorities has caused a rift in one of Egypt’s oldest rights groups and ended with the resignation of one of its leading members. Dalia Ziyada of the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies said a conflict of ideologies between her and the center’s head, Saad al-Din Ibrahim, forced her to leave. Ibrahim wrote an article in which he slammed local media for its portrayal of civil society groups as traitors serving foreign agendas. He denounced foreign funding to non-governmental organizations as treason and wondered if President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi should thus be held accountable for receiving aid from foreign countries. He also criticized Ziyada for taking part in an Egyptian delegation at the UN human rights periodical review that defended the country’s human rights record. “He believes civil society should play a critical role, while I think we have to back the state at this critical time, particularly before the international community,” Ziyada said.  [Ahram Online, 11/16/2014]

April 6 movement says security behind member’s disappearance
The April 6 Youth Movement stated on Sunday that one of their members, Mohamed Attia, disappeared in the northeastern Cairo neighborhood of Nasr City. Group member Sayed al-Banna stated that if Attia was arrested then it would qualify as a kidnapping, since he hadn’t been transferred to prosecution. According to the privately owned Al-Masry al-Youm, the April 6 Youth Movement’s legal committee has filed a complaint to the General Prosecutor blaming the state’s security apparatus in case Attia’s is endangered. April 6 Youth Movement General Coordinator Amr Aly told Mada Masr that Attia was arrested in a café in Nasr City, detained at a police station and will be sent to State Security prosecution the next day. “But when lawyers headed to the police station, officers denied having arrested him in the first place,” Aly explained. [Mada Masr, 11/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Army to build emergency hospital due to high traffic accident rate: Officer | Ahram Online
Federation of Trade Unions condemns arrest of syndicate leader | DNE
Students gear up for International Students’ Day | DNE
April 6’s Ahmed Maher suspends hunger strike | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
NCW chief denounces aid to Egypt despite organization receiving foreign funds | Egypt Independent
Youssef Zeidan quits cultural activity, cites Bibliotheca spat | Mada Masr
Schweppes workers protest imminent unemployment due to Coca-Cola merger | Mada Masr
Egyptian journalists march against brash Zamalek president Mortada Mansour | Ahram Online
Security disperse pro-Brotherhood march on al-Azhar University campus | Egypt Independent


Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims responsibility for deadly attack on soldiers
Egypt’s most violent militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), has claimed responsibility for last month’s attack on a North Sinai army checkpoint which left over thirty soldiers dead. The group released a video on social media late on Friday showing the attack, which took place on October 24 near the city of Sheikh Zuweid. Speaking directly to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ABM promised further attacks on the country’s security forces. The ABM video released on Friday starts by saying that the only way to “liberate al-Aqsa Mosque is by purifying all land from Jewish agents, like Sisi’s army.” The defense ministry posted a YouTube video on Saturday, titled “The Egyptian Military’s Message from Sinai,” depicting edited footage of military raids, shelling and combat techniques, coupled with soldier’s statements. The ministry denies it was a response to ABM’s message. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Reuters, Mada Masr, 11/16/2014]

Army kills fourteen militants, arrests 77 in weekend raids in North Sinai
Egypt’s armed forces have killed ten “terrorists” in North Sinai as part of its campaign against Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and other extremists. On his official Facebook page, Brigadier-General Mohammed Samir said that the armed forces also managed to arrest fifty-four “terrorist/criminal elements” in North Sinai, Ismailia and Daqahliya governorates. Operations resulted in destroying twelve unlicensed vehicles used in terrorist attacks, as well as 100 terrorist headquarters and two weapons/ammunition warehouses. Late on Saturday, security forces killed another three suspected militants in North Sinai. The security raids were conducted in cooperation with the ministry of interior. In addition, security forces raided on Sunday a farm in the governorate of Sharqiya hosting “one of the most dangerous cells” of the militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and killed a member of group, Egypt’s armed forces said. The armed forces added in a statement that members of the second field army, Homeland Security Forces and Central Security Forces, also arrested three more members of the militant group during the raid. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 11/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Pro-Brotherhood student dies in custody | Aswat Masriya
Egypt expands border “buffer zone” to 1000 meters – MENA | Aswat Masriya
Sinai, Damietta “terrorist attacks” supported by “international intelligence” – interior ministry spokesman | Aswat Masriya


Egypt welcomes UAE terror listing of Muslim Brotherhood
The world must intensify cooperation to fight terrorism, said Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty on Monday, as he welcomed the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The UAE issued a new law on Saturday which brands eighty-three groups as terrorist organizations, including the UAE branch of the Brotherhood, Islamist groups in Europe, and Egypt-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. A group of Islamist scholars led by an influential Qatar-based cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi expressed “astonishment” on Monday that their organization was among those designated a terrorist group by the UAE. [DNE, SIS, 11/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt condemns beheading of US aid worker by Islamic State | Ahram Online, DNE
Rocket attack kills Egyptian workers in Benghazi | DNE, MENA
Shoukry discusses Libya developments with Emirati, Libyan counterparts | DNE